These kids[above] look like they are about to drop the hottest album of 2018. Edgy, but fun, they can throw down some mad beats, but ain’t afraid to let it all hang out in an apple orchard. Their young, and hip, and yeah, they’re mine (though the oldest might argue the ownership issue). I took this picture last fall, it was a “Dad Day”, and in the perpetual, but always losing attempt to be cooler than Mom, we took an afternoon trip to one of the many apple orchards that dot the countryside in Southern Minnesota.
The apple orchard business, has a short window for selling to the consumer directly at retail prices. As such, it is a competitive market and often consists of more than just picking apples. The Orchard we had decided to go to notwithstanding. For a small fortune we were able to partake in all that The Orchard had to offer. A petting zoo, which dispensed feed pellets out of a candy machine, for a quarter, and could be used to feed the goats and calf. Little obstacles to climb through, perfect for dogs and children under four. A put-put green, which I would give the, “Things to not Include at the Orchard Next Year Award.” Toddlers and preschoolers cannot be trusted to use golf clubs for their intended purpose. A pumpkin patch, with assorted pumpkin, from baby to Dad size pumpkins. And…the infamous corn maze. This is a must at any country side destination and is meant to lure children with promises of excitement and their parents pocket books. I will admit, they usually don’t disappoint in producing excitement and a slightly lighter pocket book.
It was more fun, than I would have experienced 2 years before, accompanied by a minor buzz. It’s more likely though that we wouldn’t have even gone. Since, two hours of not having a drink on a day off would have been, as I called it at the time, “a total buzz kill.” Today though, these are the kind of days I live for, where I’m not trying to produce memories that reinforce the narrative that Dad drank a little too much growing up, but he sure was fun. No, now I want these memories to form organically, not under pretense. No nagging voices telling me, “this would be a lot more fun with a couple of drinks.”
Now I want, like my children, to have unadulterated fun. The word unadulterated has been on my mind a lot lately. What does it mean to “unadult” I wonder? Unadulterated means to not be mixed or diluted with any different or extra elements; complete and absolute. It is derived from adulterated, from Latin, adulterare, to falsify, to corrupt. With a little digging into the etymology of the word, i found mixed opinions on if the words were cognates, but it isn’t a big jump to see that adult and adulterate have some very big concepts in common: corruption, falsification, adultery, obscenity, and immorality.
So for me, to “unadult,” means all of these things that being an adult isn’t saddled with. It means goodness, kindness, openness, delight, and faithfulness. I’ve noticed an alarming trend lately in our cultures acceptance of the idea of not adulting. The word adulting, as far as words go, is just a baby, becoming popular in the second half of this decade. There isn’t even an exact, agreed upon definition yet, but I think the following wraps it up pretty well:
- to behave in an adult manner; engage in activities associated with adulthood
- to make someone behave like an adult; turn someone into an adult
What bothers me about the idea of not wanting to “adult” today, isn’t the not wanting to worry about life for a bit, or being insecure about stepping up, in an often harsh world. I get that. What bothers me, is the connotation, that not adulting has become synonymous with drinking and partying, and that to adult effectively, you need some wine or beer to cope.
Drinking has always been synonymous with adulthood. It’s not that American culture just suddenly accepted drinking as a way of dealing with life’s hardships. There are plenty of ways in which our society has distanced itself from its direct relationship with alcohol. Martini lunches, and booze in your office desk drawer, was for decades the norm. We’ve gotten away from normalizing this propensity to drink at all functions and non-functions, in many ways, which I believe was a direct result from the fallout of decades of not doing such. My concern though lies in the fact that we’ve forgotten how bad it had gotten for so many, and how hard it was to get away from a lifestyle, that even more than today, was supported in every way. It is disheartening to see younger generations, who in many aspects in my opinion, have excelled at ferreting out negative cultural norms, but seem to be pushing a narrative that to adult you need to drink, to not adult, you need to drink.
A quick search on Google, will take you to Etsy, Pinterest, and Amazon with a whole array of endless coffee mugs, t-shirts, and wine glasses, with saying like, “Wine, because adulting is hard,” and “I have mixed drinks about adulting,” or “Adulting requires beer.” Inevitably though, this version of not adulting isn’t going to be what you need to get rid of the stress in your life, or the worry, or your shitty boss, or any of your adult problems. Alcohol isn’t even all that great about making you forget your problems, often it will just accentuate them. So if you’re not going to adult for the day, if you need to unadult, then have unadulterated fun. Fun not mixed or diluted. Go build a sand castle, and eat jumbo freezies. Get out the slip-n-slide, roast some marsh mellows, get out the laser tag, jump on the trampoline, go to an apple orchard and get lost in the corn maze. You’re going to get rid of a lot more of your stresses doing those fun, childlike, not adult things, than you ever will catching a buzz. Give it a try, or two, because the fact is, tomorrow you have to adult, and let’s face it, it sucks with a hangover.